God uses every season of your life for His greater purpose—especially the hardest ones.
I found myself using words like “refiners fire”, and “building a cup for God to fill” to describe how I was feeling several times this week. My Bible studies were all surrounding God’s protection, provision, and security in dire circumstances.
I went to bed thinking about these things and how over stretched so many people are right now. I found myself suddenly visualizing an empty cup and then a glass goblet being blown like a balloon about to pop.
I started thinking about the process glass goes through before it’s even usable. The glass is heated at max temperature in a crazy hot furnace. After it’s been heated to almost melting, it’s pulled out at the perfect time but then forcefully blown and stretched to its limit again. Enduring this intense stretching then allows it to be molded and masterfully shaped into the vessel of its intended purpose.
We use the phrase “You can’t pour from an empty cup” all the time. We focus on the cup being empty and waiting to be filled. Tired. But what if the beauty is not in the filling but in the making. What if the furnace and the stretching and the molding are actually His grace at work. Sure doesn’t feel like grace, in the heat of the moment. 😉
In the hands of a skillful glass blower, the glass does not explode or break under the intense pressure. The heat of the furnace is the very thing that allows the glass to be crafted beyond what is imaginable to the untrained hand.
The fire is essential for the stretching, the stretching is essential for the shaping, and the shaping is essential for this beautiful glass vessel to be hand-crafted into its intended purpose.
Only then as it cools, hardens, and finds its strength, can a goblet be filled until overflowing. It’s ready.
Granted, sometimes our circumstances feel less like delicate glass blowing and more like metal being repeatedly heated and pounded until we are skillfully honed into our design. The result is the same. Repentance. Strength. Character. Purpose.
One of my mom’s most famous phrases growing up when something hard happened was “It’s building character”. We would roll our eyes and probably keep complaining, but it’s true. What if the refining process we are in the midst of is actually His grace transforming us into our purpose? It’s an intense process. Repentance isn’t fun. Changing mindsets, attitudes, and habits isn’t easy.
BUT I am safe in the hands of my Creator. He will not let me break even when I feel like one more puff of air added will be too much to handle. I can trust in His design for my life and the character being permanently fixed on the cooling rack.
This “refiners fire” picture is not a new concept but it certainly refreshed my perspective at 1am this morning, as I had to write all this down, plus the song lyrics that were on repeat as I tried to fall asleep.
This is how I fight my battles
This is how I fight my battles
Battles… What if today’s battles are preparing me for something in the future?
It may look like I’m surrounded
But I’m surrounded by You
Surrounded… What if my cup is already overflowing? What if yours is too?
“The LORD will fight for you. You need only to be still” - Ex 14:14
Alisha Cole and her husband live and raise their three boys in Shreveport, LA. Through their 20 years of ministry, Alisha has experienced all the loneliness, loss, grief, exhaustion, and Legos that comes with mixing motherhood and ministry. She prays her encouraging whispers from the Holy Spirit (and hilarious boy mom disasters) are a healing balm to the hearts of hurting women who read them.